I would like to start my end of term letter by saying a ‘thank you’ for your fantastic trust, support and patience this term. Having worked in secondary schools for over 20 years, I can honestly say that I have never experienced such strange and turbulent times as we have lived through since schools closed on March 20th.
This time last year we were in the midst of our traditional Archbishop Ilsley Christmas celebrations; Awards Evening, OAP party, Advent Mass and end of term celebration assemblies. Sadly we have been unable to hold any of our special events this year and I am sorry that your children have missed out on these.
Despite the disruption and uncertainty caused by the pandemic, your children have had a very successful term. Our year 7 pupils settled in very quickly and all other year groups have adapted to the new school day and systems we have had to put in place to keep school as safe as possible. It never ceases to surprise me how adaptable and resilient young people are and you should feel very proud of how well they have done since returning to school in September.
Please read the information below as it contains some key reminders and details of the arrangements for the end of term.
End of term
Y11 pupils finish on Wednesday 16th December at 3.10 p.m. and should attend their academic tutorial from home on Thursday 17th December
Y12 and Y13 pupils finish at 1.20 p.m. on Thursday 17th December
Pupils in Y9 finish at 2.50 p.m. on Thursday 17th December
Pupils in years 7 and 8 finish at 3.10 p.m. on Thursday 17th December
School closes from Friday 18th December until Monday 4th January
School will open at the normal time for all pupils on Monday 4th January
Pupils must not wear hoodies or gilets in school. We ask that parents and carers provide their children with a suitable winter coat for the colder months; a hoodie is not a winter coat and they will be confiscated if worn in school. If a pupil is wearing their P.E. kit to school, this is not a reason for them to wear a hoodie.
This term we have spent more time than we should reminding a small number of pupils about piercings, particularly nose studs. The policy is very clear - only one small stud in each ear is permitted and no other piercings are allowed. If your child wishes to have a nose piercing then they have to be able to remove it for school.
Could I also remind all parents and carers that we have a very fair and sensible policy regarding make up and that false eyelashes, false nails and nail varnish are not permitted. I would strongly advise against you allowing your child to have false/gel/acrylic nails done before they return to school.
It is expected that all pupils have full school P.E. kit from Monday 4th January. This can be the old or the new style kit, but it must be school kit.
Midland Schoolwear in Acocks Green stock the school P.E. kit and this can be ordered from the shop directly.
Changes to school day - end times
From Monday 4th January Y9 and Y10 will finish at 3.10 p.m. Y9 will leave through the main entrance on Victoria Road and Y10 will leave through the side gate by Holy Souls.
Y8 will leave at 3.10 p.m. through the side gate by Holy Souls; please note the change of departure gate for this year group.
Y11 will leave at 3 p.m. on Fridays through the main entrance. Monday to Thursday, they will leave through the main entrance at 4 p.m. following period 6.
Social Media/online safety
Over the Christmas holidays children will be spending time at home and are likely to be engaged in online activity. Although a lot of this activity will be safe and fun, there is the real danger that children can become engaged in online activity which puts them at risk. Could I ask that as parents/carers, you monitor your child’s online activity and remind them of being safe. Some of the simple things to remind them of are as follows:
Do not communicate with someone you don’t know
Never meet up with someone you have not met in person
Tell an adult if you are suspicious of someone you are talking to online
Reporting Covid cases over Christmas
For the first 6 days of the school holidays, Archbishop Ilsley staff will be assisting with Track and Trace.
A separate letter is being sent out to advise you what to do if your child tests positive for Coronavirus and they were in school during the last week of term.
Please note that you will only be able to inform us of a positive case on the following email address:firstname.lastname@example.org
After 3.30 p.m.on December 23rd all positive cases will be dealt with by the NHS Track and Trace system.
The school phone line and the enquiry email address will not be in operation from Friday 18th December until Monday 4th January so if you do need to inform us of your child testing positive, you must use the email address above.
Changes to self-isolation from January 4th
After the end of this term, we will no longer be asking whole year groups home to isolate, unless there are multiple cases or Public Health England advise us to do so.
We have taken further advice on how we can limit the number of pupils who need to be sent home and we will now only send close contacts of the affected child/staff member home.
Most secondary schools are now following this procedure and it means that less pupils will have their learning disrupted. Safety will always be the priority and where there is any doubt, we will err on the side of caution.
From January 4th, if there is a positive case within your child’s year group bubble, you will receive a text to say that your child is being sent home while we identify the contacts of the person who has tested positive. Once we have carried out our track and trace procedures, we will send a further text to inform you whether your child needs to self-isolate or if they can return to school the following day.
It is vitally important that we have an accurate record of your mobile phone number; please let us know if your number changes so that we can update our records.
All Year 7, 8 and 11 pupils have had access to free Bagel breakfasts this term through our affiliation with 'Magic Breakfasts'. It has been great seeing so many pupils come in early to get breakfast and help set them up for a day of learning.
After Christmas, this will continue from week beginning 11th January, 8:00AM - 8:30AM in the canteen.
Please support your child in getting a healthy breakfast and fuelling them for a great day of learning.
Finally, I would like to wish everyone a very happy and holy Christmas. Please enjoy the time with your families and friends safely and we look forward to welcoming your children back to school on Monday 4th January 2021.
God grant us the light of Christmas, which is faith;
The warmth of Christmas, which is purity;
The righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
The belief in Christmas, which is truth,
The all of Christmas, which is Christ.